Transport, food and shelter to provide freely to stranded migrant workers
The top court’s notice comes barely 10 days after another bench refused to intervene on a petition that wanted the government to identify stranded migrant workers, take care of their needs and provide free transport to them. At one point, a judge on this bench remarked: “How can we (migrants) stop them from walking”.
The court ordered the Centre and the States to immediately provide transport, food and shelter free of cost to the stranded migrant workers.
The suo motu cognisance of media reports and representations from senior lawyers to step in to protect the fundamental rights of the migrant workers was taken by the judges in their chambers.
They have also been complaining of not being provided food and water by the administration at places where they were stranded or in the way, ie, highways from which they proceeded on-foot, cycles or other modes of transport,” the court added.
This was the first time since the March 25 lockdown that the top court had practically declined to push the government to do more for the migrant workers. On April 27, the court had closed a petition on the plight of migrant workers after the Centre insisted that all arrangements had been made for the migrant workers at 26,000 plus relief camps.
In the present situation of lockdown in the entire country, this section of society needs succour and help by governments concerned. Steps need to be taken by the Government of India, State Governments/Union Territories in this difficult situation to extend a helping hand to migrant labourers,” it emphasised.